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New York Times, Friday, November 10, 2017

Author: Patrick Berry
Editor: Will Shortz
Patrick Berry
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2277/11/199911/10/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
721241679512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 27 Missing: {QVXZ} This is puzzle # 227 for Mr. Berry. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Solid 66-word grid from the master. It's so tough to execute well on these low(ish) word count themelesses, most of them failing ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Solid 66-word grid from the master. It's so tough to execute well on these low(ish) word count themelesses, most of them failing either on too much crossword glue or too little pizzazz.

PB pulls off pretty quad-stacks in the SW / NE. AT A GLANCE / CAT LITTER / O PIONEERS / WHAT ELSE with a PARKING LOT as slang for a jammed highway! That's about as good as you can expect from such a huge swath of white space to fill.

Nice touch on OSCAR / DE LA RENTA paired together … in subsequent grid entries! It's a shame that OSCAR didn't come first, but the pairing was still juicy.

My spidey sense did tingle when I hit ALDEAN. Okay, my knowledge level of country music is only slightly better than a reanimated corpse, so I shrugged ALDEAN off as someone maybe I ought to learn. But then LAMAR Odom … I'm a big fantasy b-ball fan and LAMAR Odom … sigh, such unfulfilled potential. Not only did he have the chance to become an NBA legend what with his all-around talent, but HE HAD A CHANCE TO BECOME CROSSWORTHY AND HELP CONSTRUCTORS TREMENDOUSLY!

Then, FRAN and … Kukla and Ollie? Huh. STEUBEN as a defunct art glass company? ANTOINE as Fats Domino's real name? I knew that last one because it's saved a few of my harder grids, what with all those constructor-friendly common letters.

Huh.

Even the great PB had to pay a price in those giant SW / NE corners. Most mere mortals wouldn't work with quad-stacks to begin with. Even fewer would try to "turn the corner" with them — imagine how much easier that NE quad-stack would be to construct if JIBE became black squares. If only he didn't include so many esoteric names. I'd have even been fine with a bit of short crossword glue instead, if only for variety.

Often, I think quad-stacks aren't worth it. Even PB couldn't get four out of four sizzlers in either of his. Usually, I'd suggest breaking up one of the entries, say placing a black square at the N of CLEANS OUT and the L of AT A GLANCE, so you can make three out of three sizzle. But in this case, those two entries are the least juicy answers of their respective stacks. Given that everything else around them is pretty darn good, leaving those two intact doesn't change much. So it's okay by me.

Solid work overall, for a low(ish) word count grid. Shame about all those tough names.

1
R
2
I
3
D
4
E
5
S
6
H
7
A
8
L
9
F
10
M
11
A
12
S
13
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14
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15
D
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A
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A
16
O
S
C
A
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17
O
L
D
M
A
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T
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R
18
T
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A
19
C
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A
N
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A
L
A
21
W
22
E
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B
A
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23
J
I
B
E
24
C
A
R
25
P
26
L
O
O
N
27
M
A
N
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S
28
T
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A
29
S
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Y
30
D
E
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31
R
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D
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32
G
E
E
K
33
H
34
E
35
C
K
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36
S
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F
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N
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U
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P
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A
P
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N
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D
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P
A
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Y
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C
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A
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B
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C
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52
A
L
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53
O
P
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54
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W
H
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56
S
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D
Y
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1110 ( 24,839 )
Across Down
1. Midway sights : RIDES
6. Standard position? : HALFMAST
14. Lifeless : INERT
15. Dominican fashion designer's last name ... : DELARENTA
16. ... and first name : OSCAR
17. Uffizi work : OLDMASTER
18. City that straddles the Arkansas River : TULSA
19. Leaves penniless : CLEANSOUT
20. Like : ALA
21. Where people mix at parties? : WETBAR
23. Match up, as accounts : JIBE
24. Find fault : CARP
26. Bird called a "diver" in the U.K. : LOON
27. Leonine features : MANES
28. Cabinet department : TREASURY
30. Covered, in a way : DECENT
31. Great American Ball Park team : REDS
32. Tech enthusiast, say : GEEK
33. Bad call? : HECKLE
36. Render pliable : SOFTENUP
40. Spring segment : APRIL
41. "Egypt was the gift of the ___": Herodotus : NILE
42. Leader of the Partisans in W.W. II : TITO
43. "Lovers Who Wander" singer, 1962 : DION
44. Cook, as latkes : PANFRY
46. Band-Aid site : CUT
47. On sight : ATAGLANCE
49. Subject of the 2014 documentary "Life Itself" : EBERT
51. Pet store bagful : CATLITTER
52. Without allies : ALONE
53. Willa Cather novel whose title ends with an exclamation point : OPIONEERS
54. Radio component : TUNER
55. "Am I forgetting anything?" : WHATELSE
56. Disreputable : SEEDY
1. It's often read metaphorically : RIOTACT
2. Isolated : INSULAR
3. Set forth : DECLARE
4. Chapters of history : ERAS
5. Item dropped in the drink? : STRAW
6. Superhero with hooves and a tail : HELLBOY
7. Jason with the #1 country hit "Dirt Road Anthem" : ALDEAN
8. Retired hoopster Odom : LAMAR
9. Human member of an old TV trio : FRAN
10. Bit of attire for a bellhop : MESSJACKET
11. Fats Domino's real first name : ANTOINE
12. Onetime New York company famous for making art glass : STEUBEN
13. Most sour : TARTEST
15. Ward bosses? : DOCTORS
22. Shake : ELUDE
25. Metaphor for a jammed highway : PARKINGLOT
27. Come together : MEET
29. Unload, say : SELL
30. Yield (to) : DEFER
32. Club owners : GOLFERS
33. Got plenty upset : HADACOW
34. Marker writing : EPITAPH
35. U.N. member whose capital comes last alphabetically : CROATIA
36. Not kidding : SINCERE
37. "Great shot!" : NICEONE
38. Completely changed course : UTURNED
39. Final outcome of a firing : POTTERY
41. Edict of ___ (Huguenot Wars ender) : NANTES
44. Star of 2016's "Lion" : PATEL
45. "Horseman, pass by!" poet : YEATS
48. Airport security holdup : LINE
50. Like Alice's gown in "Alice in Wonderland" : BLUE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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